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AHA Joins Provider, Business Communities to Urge Protection of Coverage during COVID-19 Pandemic

Today, the American Hospital Association (AHA)—in conjunction with America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—issued a joint letter to lawmakers urging them to focus on coverage as they consider the next steps to combat COVID-19.

In particular, the group called for efforts to maintain private health benefits for individuals and families, including:

  • Providing employers with temporary subsidies to preserve health benefits
  • Covering the cost of coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
  • Expanding the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
  • Opening a Special Enrollment Period for Health Insurance Marketplaces
  • Increasing eligibility for federal subsidies for the Health Insurance Marketplaces

“These immediate actions will help stabilize the economy, support employers across the country, and secure quality health care coverage for millions of Americans,” the co-signors wrote.

Earlier this month, HAP issued a report that predicts that as the economy erodes and unemployment rises, millions across the country may lose their health insurance coverage or will become unable to pay their premiums, shifting from private insurance to Medicaid and uninsured. That report also estimated that COVID-19’s toll on Pennsylvania hospitals could exceed $10 billion.

Despite requests from multiple states, including Pennsylvania, the Trump Administration decided against reopening the Affordable Care Act enrollment to uninsured Americans during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services reminded Pennsylvanians that who experience certain major life changes, including the loss of employer-based health care coverage in conjunction with a job loss, are eligible to enroll in health insurance on the federal exchange. Information about these Special Enrollment Periods are available and the insurance department’s website and at HealthCare.gov.

For questions, please contact Jolene Calla, HAP’s vice president of healthcare finance and insurance.

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